A Double Helping of Mariners Goodness

This is the first in a new series of weekly recaps for the 2013 Seattle Mariners season. Every Monday, I’ll recap the past week’s games, take a look at individual performances and preview the upcoming week. I missed the first week so this week only will be a double helping of Mariners goodness.

Week 1 & 2 Recap

Date Home Team Score Away Team Score Result
4/1 Athletics 0 Mariners 2 W
4/2 Athletics 1 Mariners 7 W
4/3 Athletics 6 Mariners 2 L
4/4 Athletics 8 Mariners 2 L
4/5 White Sox 7 Mariners 8 W/10
4/6 White Sox 4 Mariners 3 L
4/7 White Sox 4 Mariners 3 L/10
4/8 Mariners 3 Astros 0 W
4/9 Mariners 9 Astros 16 L
4/10 Mariners 3 Astros 8 L
4/11 Mariners 3 Rangers 4 L
4/12 Mariners 3 Rangers 1 W
4/13 Mariners 1 Rangers 3 L
4/14 Mariners 4 Rangers 3 W
  • The Mariners got off to a decent start on the road splitting their series in Oakland and coming very close to winning the series in Chicago. Once the Mariners got home, their results were a mixed bag, losing their series with Houston and splitting their series with the Rangers. Overall, I think it was a positive two weeks, especially considering the state of our rotation and the injuries to Michael Saunders and Mike Morse.

  • While it was only seven games, the new dimensions of Safeco Field had a bizarre effect last week. During those seven games, 17 home runs were launched out of the park. There were thirteen hit in the Houston series alone. Then a funny thing happened and only four were hit during the Rangers series. It will be interesting to see just how many more home runs will be hit this year at Safeco. Park effects are an interesting aspect of baseball analysis, with a number of fickle factors that can affect the numbers. We probably won’t be able to say anything definitive about the way new Safeco plays until the end of the season at the earliest.

Player Performances

One of the features I’m including is a look at the recent player performances from the past two weeks. That small of a sample size will give us some pretty extreme data points. If you want to see the methodology behind these statistics, check out this page. The two tables below are the batting and pitching data from the first two weeks (4/1-4/14).

PA 1B/2B/3B/HR AVG/OBP/SLG K%/xK% BB%/xBB% HR%/xHR% SCOUT
Jesus Montero 38 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 .211 /.211 /.237 13.2/17.1 0.0/4.9 0.0/9.9 -11.3
Kelly Shoppach 18 4 / 2 / 0 / 1 .467 /.556 /.800 27.8/32.7 16.7/8.8 20.0/11.8 -0.7
Justin Smoak 53 8 / 1 / 0 / 0 .191 /.283 /.213 17.0/26.4 11.3/10.7 0.0/9.3 -9.3
Kendrys Morales 54 8 / 3 / 0 / 1 .261 /.370 /.391 13.0/16.2 14.8/8.1 8.3/10.8 -1.5
Dustin Ackley 44 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 .122 /.182 /.122 11.4/17.0 6.8/9.0 0.0/9.6 -6.5
Robert Andino 23 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 .091 /.087 /.182 30.4/22.0 0.0/7.0 0.0/10.4 -6.9
Brendan Ryan 42 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 .200 /.286 /.200 21.4/17.1 11.9/7.9 0.0/9.7 -7.7
Kyle Seager 54 4 / 6 / 0 / 0 .204 /.278 /.327 14.8/16.2 9.3/7.5 0.0/9.3 -10.5
Mike Morse 44 6 / 0 / 0 / 6 .293 /.341 /.732 27.3/23.5 6.8/6.0 42.9/15.9 21.0
Jason Bay 30 3 / 1 / 0 / 1 .200 /.333 /.360 26.7/23.7 16.7/12.6 14.3/11.6 6.9
Raul Ibanez 34 3 / 2 / 0 / 2 .226 /.294 /.484 23.5/17.6 8.8/8.5 18.2/12.1 5.8
Endy Chavez 12 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 .250 /.250 /.250 8.3/10.1 0.0/5.2 0.0/10.8 -3.0
Franklin Gutierrez 40 4 / 2 / 0 / 4 .270 /.300 /.649 20.0/20.3 5.0/6.3 28.6/13.6 9.9
Michael Saunders 34 5 / 1 / 1 / 1 .286 /.324 /.500 8.8/22.0 8.8/8.2 9.1/11.0 -1.9
  • Michael Saunders and Mike Morse were both injured during the second week. Saunders strained his shoulder making an amazing catch against the wall on the first play of the game on 4/10. I was at that game and it looked like Saunders had no idea how close he was to the wall. He made the catch as he crashed into the wall at full speed. He was placed on the 15-day DL and Endy Chavez was called up from AAA-Tacoma to replace him.
  • Morse fractured his pinky finger but wasn’t placed on the DL. Apparently he will try and rehab his finger quickly, but those kinds of injuries have a way of sticking around and sapping the power out of batters. We’ll see if Morse is affected at all in the coming weeks. Before he was injured, it was feast or famine (at least when he made contact) with five home runs and seven singles.
  • Our young core has gotten off to a disappointingly slow start. Jesus Montero looks lost at the plate and started to lose playing time to Kelly Shoppach towards the end of last week. Justin Smoak retooled his swing over the offseason and he’s actually shown some progress. He’s cut down on his strike outs, raised his walk rate, and his line drive rate is almost 25%. His results just haven’t shown up; his BABIP is an unsustainable .237. I’m not sure what’s going on with Dustin Ackley. He doesn’t look comfortable at the plate and he seems to be trying to pull everything he sees, resulting in a ridiculous amount of ground outs to second. It’s too early to declare him a bust, but it seems like there is something inherently broken with his swing (not that I’m an expert on swing mechanics). His BABIP is also an unsustainable .139. With his amount of contact and his plate discipline, there’s no reason he should be hitting this poorly. Lookout Landing has a better analysis of these three here.
  • Franklin Gutierrez was showing us why he was considered one of the most valuable center fielders in the game a few years ago. He launched four home runs and his rate stats were right in line with his career averages. Towards the end of the week, he was dealing with a tight calf and so we were treated to a Raul Ibanez/Endy Chavez/Jason Bay outfield three games in a row. Surprisingly enough, we won two of those games.
  • For all the noise made this offseason about Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay (myself included), they haven’t been a complete disaster. Raul has been a mixed bag of terrible defense (nothing new) and decent offensive numbers including two home runs. Bay hasn’t exactly hit well but he has shown patience at the plate and has looked pretty good in the outfield. Perhaps we were all too quick to judge…
IP BF K / BB ERA/FIP K%/xK% BB%/xBB% HR%/xHR% SCOUT
Felix Hernandez 20 2/3 85 16 / 6 3.05 / 3.68 18.8/20.3 7.1/7.2 8.0/10.4 6.8
Hisashi Iwakuma 20 2/3 71 16 / 1 2.18 / 4.21 22.5/21.0 1.4/5.8 16.0/12.4 -3.6
Joe Saunders 17 1/3 71 10 / 8 2.08 / 3.33 14.1/13.8 11.3/8.2 0.0/8.6 13.4
Brandon Maurer 12 2/3 59 8 / 4 9.95 / 4.84 13.6/17.3 6.8/7.8 10.5/11.1 0.2
Blake Beavan 10 2/3 49 6 / 1 8.44 / 5.91 12.2/11.1 2.0/3.4 14.3/11.8 -1.0
Lucas Luetge 4 1/3 21 3 / 2 8.31 / 3.10 14.3/19.7 9.5/12.4 0.0/10.5 -0.6
Bobby LaFromboise 1 1/3 5 2 / 1 0.00 / 2.35 40.0/20.5 20.0/8.2 0.0/11.1 1.2
Oliver Perez 6 2/3 23 5 / 1 1.35 / 4.00 21.7/22.6 4.3/12.0 7.7/11.0 -2.0
Kameron Loe 6 2/3 31 3 / 1 10.80 / 14.35 9.7/13.4 3.2/6.9 54.5/15.8 -28.1
Stephen Pryor 7 1/3 26 7 / 1 0.00 / 1.60 26.9/26.2 3.8/10.3 0.0/10.3 5.8
Carter Capps 7 34 10 / 2 7.71 / 4.81 29.4/27.5 5.9/8.5 18.2/12.1 -2.1
Charlie Furbush 4 21 5 / 6 4.50 / 8.35 23.8/22.1 28.6/10.1 25.0/12.3 -7.3
Tom Wilhelmsen 5 20 2 / 4 1.80 / 4.70 10.0/22.8 20.0/10.4 0.0/10.5 2.9
  • It took three games before Kameron Loe was designated for assignment. He gave up six home runs in six innings and really showed no signs of getting over his problems from last year. Good riddance.
  • The Mariners traded for Aaron Harang to relieve their taxed starting rotation. Its an interesting move as Harang provides similar value to Jon Garland who was released at the end of Spring Training. We didn’t give up much to get Harang (a low-level relief prospect) but it still seems like a little foresight could have gone a long way. Anyway, Harang is scheduled to start on Tuesday, taking Blake Beavan’s spot in the rotation.
  • Speaking of Beavan, both he and Brandon Maurer were lit up this week, giving up twenty-four runs combined. Beavan in particular looked lost as he was erratic in both of his starts, leaving both his fastballs and breaking balls up in the zone. Maurer looked completely overmatched in his first two starts, which could have been expected for someone who made the jump from AA to the majors. His third start against the Rangers was much better as he seemed to have gotten his command back and was using his fastball and slider to great effect. He did have some trouble with the lefties in the Rangers lineup so hopefully he’ll work in his changeup into his repertoire.
  • Besides the four home runs he gave up in three starts, Hisashi Iwakuma looks like a legit #2 starter. Even though he struggled with a blister on his throwing hand, he was still dominant in all of his starts.
  • Stephen Pryor looked excellent in the bullpen before he was placed on the 15-day DL on Monday with a torn lat. It seemed like he had overcome his control issues, giving up only one walk and striking out seven in seven innings of work. Carter Capps will probably be counted on for more high leverage innings.

AL West Standings

Team Win-Loss Win% Games Behind
Athletics 9-4 .692
Rangers 8-5 .615 1.0
Mariners 6-8 .429 3.5
Houston 4-8 .333 4.5
Angels 4-8 .333 4.5

The Week Ahead

Date Away Team Probable Pitcher Home Team Probable Pitcher
4/15
4/16 Tigers Doug Fister Mariners Aaron Harang
4/17 Tigers Max Scherzer Mariners Felix Hernandez
4/18 Tigers Justin Verlander Mariners Hisashi Iwakuma
4/19 Mariners Joe Saunders Rangers Yu Darvish
4/20 Mariners Brandon Maurer Rangers TBD
4/21 Mariners Aaron Harang Rangers TBD

The Mariners begin a sixteen game stretch on Tuesday with a three game set against the visiting Tigers and then travel to Texas for a six game road trip against the Rangers and the Astros. Our bullpen and bench depth will be strained during this stretch, hopefully Mike Morse and Michael Saunders will return quickly from their respective injuries.

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